ASPAZOR - Ecosystem impacts and socioeconomic benefits of Asparagopsis armata in the Azores

 

PROJECT DESIGNATION

ASPAZOR - Ecosystem impacts and socioeconomic benefits of Asparagopsis armata in the Azores

PROJECT REFERENCE

ACORES-01-0145-FEDER-000060

MAIN OBJETIVE

The present project aims to understand the effects of the nonindigenous alga Asparagopsis armata on the Azorean littoral communities, and predict how the species abundance will influence the islands’ coastal biodiversity under future climate change scenarios. Moreover, this project evaluates Asparagopsis potential as an alternative resource for commercial exploitation.

BENEFICIARY ENTITY: University of Azores/ Fundação Gaspar Frutuoso

I&D GROUP: Azorean Biodiversity Group, ABG

I&D ENTITY: Centre of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, cE3c

TOTAL ELIGIBLE COST: 139. 081,83 €

EUROPEAN UNION FUNDING: 118. 219,56 €

DESCRIPTION

This project investigates how the non-indigenous cryptic species complex A. armata, a high-profile invasive red seaweed, impacts Azorean ecosystem services and biodiversity under current and future environmental scenarios. In addition this project will test whether A. armata has the potential to turn into a profitable marine resource in Azores, providing guidance on the amount of biomass accessible for economical sustainable exploitation.

EXPECTED RESULTS

This project will fill the knowledge gap related to the realistic impact of A. armata invasions along the Azorean coastal communities under current and future environmental scenarios. In addition, this project will provide the scientific basis and knowledge to: (i) develop conservation and mitigation plans aimed at protecting native communities; (ii) further understand if the removal of A. armata can be effective in mitigating its negative impacts; and (iii) test the utility of this invasive seaweed as an innovative marine resource. Considering the multiple uses of the extracts of this non-indigenous macroalga and its high abundance on Azorean coasts, this project will also promote its sustainable use as a source of economic and societal benefits for the Azores in the area of the marine biotechnology. Implementing this new fishery will enable local economic agents to operate in the traditional fisheries sector but also will provide innovative activities and new investments in sectors with economic potential, bringing additional economic and societal benefits to the Azorean population.

PHOTOS